The Instigator
SkySky16
Con (against)
Losing
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The Contender
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
1 Points

Optimism vs. Pessimism

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/7/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,349 times Debate No: 100619
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (2)

 

SkySky16

Con

This debate is Optimism (Pro) vs. Pessimism (Con)

Debate structure:
R1: Acceptance
R2: Opening statements
R3&4: Rebuttals
R5: Closing arguments
Danielle

Pro

Introduction

Many thanks to SkySky16 for sending me this challenge.

An optimist is a person with a positive outlook on life. A pessimist is a person with a negative outlook on life. Dispositional optimism and pessimism are typically assessed by asking people whether they expect future outcomes to be beneficial or negative. In this debate, I will be arguing that it is better to be an optimist (pro optimism) than a pessimist (pro pessimism).

I look forward to my opponent's contentions and a fruitful discussion.
Debate Round No. 1
SkySky16

Con

This debate is essentially between defensive pessimism and strategic optimism. This is because absolute pessimism and its counterpart absolute optimism are equally flawed.

To roughly "define" these:

Defensive pessimism is a strategy used by anxious people to help them manage their anxiety so they can work productively. Defensive pessimists lower their expectations to help prepare themselves for the worst. Then, they mentally play through all the bad things that might happen. Though it sounds as if it might be depressing, defensive pessimism actually helps anxious people focus away from their emotions so that they can plan and act effectively.

Strategic optimism is typically used by people who aren't anxious. Individuals using this strategy set high expectations, and then actively avoid thinking much about what might happen.

http://academics.wellesley.edu...

Many studies have been done on which is better, specifically physical health, and whatever you find on one is contradicted by the other. This made me question, which is truly better? Now, we will not only be looking at physical affects.

I will separate my arguments into numbered point but may draw conclusions between them.

1. Defensive pessimism is widely used by everyone.

Whether you are aware of it or not, defensive pessimism, which is evaluating all of the things that could go wrong, is a widely used practice. Going on a vacation? Plan extra time for baggage troubles or a slow down at security. Have an important meeting? Visit the office or inquire beforehand to know how to get there. Have that big football game next weekend? Stay away from risky activities and focus on prevention. These are all fairly common examples of assessing risks and avoiding them.
On the other hand strategic optimism isn't so widely used. This is mostly for the reason that a good amount of people believe optimism to be naive. The most common way that strategic optimism is used is to get oneself to pursue something you wouldn't have with pessimistic thoughts. But I call to question if this is actually the pragmatic way of thinking?

2. Defensive pessimism is more pragmatic.

A great segue from my last point. I will concede that SO (strategic optimism) does have a leg up on DP (defensive pessimism) where there is nothing major on the line. Allow me to use an example. You were given 3 free tries to the crane game at the arcade, which seems more reasonable? a. Take advantage of this offer and possibly win something free of charge or b. Shrug off the free tries because the machine is rigged in favor of the manufacturer not the user. Of course a. would be the better and more pragmatic option but when looking at something you would face in everyday life with things "on the line," we can see that DP is clearly better.
All I have to do to show this is simple, those tickets now cost one dollar a piece. Which is still the most reasonable? DP trumps now as the odds are clearly against you. Now let's apply it to a real world situation. Apartment hunting! You tour an apartment that is pretty good, nice price and space, but isn't in the best location. You decide that it's worthwhile for various unimportant reasons. Unfortunately there is only one apartment available and August is coming around soon in your college town, which means the offer won't be prone to last long. You can tour other apartments of the same management company that are in a better location but may lose this offer. DP would take the offer at hand instead of risking already good pricing and space. On the other hand SO would probably pass up this offer and risk losing it for the chance of "winning the apartment lottery" and getting a good price, space, and location.
DP takes into account all known factors and makes a decision based on that. Of course there will be the 5% of cases where SO would be better, but playing your odds is risky and foolhardy.

3. Defensive pessimism has more benefits.

Consider these fields as possible areas of advantage/disadvantage for DP and SO:
Physical Health
Mental Health
Success

While evaluating the physical health the science is very contradictory, like I stated in my introduction, because both sides claim the other increase anxiety. But if we look at the uses of either we see that DP clearly reduces more anxiety. DP, as stated in the definition above, I generally used to decrease anxiety around something needing to be done because it evaluates all the potential pitfalls that can reasonably be addressed. SO is something that people with low anxiety can use because it simply dismisses the potential pitfalls that may happen. In this regard, I would claim that DP prevents more health problems than SO but the people practicing DP may be "unhealthier" physically because they still have more anxiety than their counterparts.
When drawing conclusion of mental health it is clear that DP should be advocated for more than SO. DP has a higher net decrease in anxiety than SO. Refer to my physical health argumentation for analysis.
Success. One of the hardest things to evaluate as far as single variables go. Yet I would argue that DP is the clear breadwinner. Success is hampered by an excess of anxiety, yet a healthy amount of anxiety causes success. The DP attitude of addressing the possible setbacks against the SO attitude of dismissing pitfalls as out of their control shows clearly that DP is the more dependably successful.

4. The pragmatic curve
When we assess the usefulness of DP and SO levels on a curve we can see that DP is more useful more often. I would argue that SO starts off useful and gradually increases as SO use increases. However, once at a certain point even SO starts to get naive and ignores things that can be changed. This is, of course, harmful to success. SO is needed to thwart anxiety directly before or during that anxiety provoking event, which causes less fumbles and such because you aren't a stammering and anxiety ridden mess. However, when SO is used prematurely or to an extreme extent it is more harmful and less helpful that DP in the same situations.
DP's curve is different. It starts off lower than SO, admittedly, but spikes exponentially until it gets to the extreme. This is because a low amount of preparedness is caused by low amounts of DP, due to not seeing or overlooking some potential pitfalls while high amounts of preparedness is the key to success. In the even that DP is used extremely or prematurely it still has lower net detriment that SO. Extreme DP is anxiety provoking, thus defeating the purpose, by worrying about things you no longer have control over. I am essentially arguing that anxious and well prepared is much better than confident and ill prepared. DP is hard to use prematurely because one could stress about the problem before it even comes to be that problem but even then you can set a plan of action in place to deal with it.
Something that I've noticed is DP is used in preparing for that big presentation or game or what have you in the weeks/days/however much time you have to get everything ready, while SO is used when you are about to do said activities. What we can conclude from this observation is that DP is what gets things done while SO dismisses what might happen that we don't necessarily have control over.

In conclusion, we have explored the world of defensive pessimism and strategic optimism. We've looked into the pros and cons of both and drawn the conclusion that the former has a higher net benefit and a lower net detriment. Although, outliers do exist and in the rare cases they are the only way you are going to achieve something then strategic optimism is the best.

Sources that I used, note that I did not take anything in these as facts but merely interpretations of either, which is really the only thing one can do in philosophy:

https://blog.todoist.com...
http://academics.wellesley.edu...
https://www.psychologytoday.com...
http://www.returnofkings.com...
http://www.medicaldaily.com...
http://www.shape.com...
Danielle

Pro

Thank you, Con.

As agreed, I will present my case here in R2 and respond to your case in R3 and R4.

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
-- Winston Churchill

Optimism and Physical Health

Research shows a connection between optimism and one's health and emotional + physical well-being. For starters, optimists are less likely to have certain diseases or have them develop over time [1]. "One study published in 2009 found that optimists were more likely to live longer than pessimists, thanks to a decreased chance of heart disease. The study reviewed 97,253 women over the age of 50 who participated in the Women"s Health Initiative, and found that the most optimistic women were 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease " and 14 percent less likely than their pessimistic counterparts to die from any cause during the study period" [2].

This may be due to optimists having healthier lifestyles. For example, they smoke less, they are more physically active, they consume healthier foods, and they consume alcohol moderately [3]. This makes sense: optimistic people are happier [4] and happier people are healthier people [5]. Furthermore, optimism also plays a role in the recovery from illness and disease. Multiple studies have investigated the role of optimism in people undergoing treatment for cancer, and have found direct links between one's attitude (optimism) and level of improved health [6].

Optimism and Mental Health

Optimists have less stress than pessimists, which can not only be observed in their behavior, but at the physiological level as well. Pessimists have shown higher levels of cortisol (the "stress hormone") and trouble regulating cortisol in response to stressors [7]. This impacts people's ability to deal with assignments (sometimes encouraging anxiety) as well as their relationships and interactions with others. Further, pessimism is linked with higher instances of depression [9]. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that optimism is important in coping with difficult life events and tragedy [6].

Optimism and Success

Optimistic people are more successful. First, let's note that in order to even begin taking on a project or new venture, one must believe in their idea and their abilities. Pessimistic people will not be inclined to challenge themselves or take risks (therefore forfeiting potential rewards) because they might not have faith in their success. Moreover, "optimists fare better in situations where persistence and not giving up, even in the face of extreme adversity, may take them farther than people who focus only on what will go wrong, blocking them from their goal" [2].

Optimists emerge from difficult circumstances with less distress than do pessimists. That is, optimists seem intent on facing problems head-on, taking active and constructive steps to solve their problems, while pessimists are more likely to abandon their effort to attain their goals [8]. "Evidence for the connection between motivation and optimism or pessimism was found in a new study by Abigail Hazlett and colleagues published in Social Cognition. In two initial studies, optimists were found to have a "promotion focus." In other words they preferred to think about how they could advance and grow. Pessimists, meanwhile, were more preoccupied with security and safety" [9].

Being optimistic doesn't mean being careless and taking profound risks. It means having the audacity of hope (http://tinyurl.com...) to take reasonable risks in the first place. Consider a scenario where a young person tried out for a sports team but didn't make the cut. A pessimist would think, "I'm such a failure! I never do well in this sport! I'm not trying out anymore." Meanwhile, an optimist would say "That's unfortunate, but it's just one try out. I can practice and try again, or try something else I might be better at."

"Optimists don't necessarily have more muscle mass or greater athletic ability than pessimists. But what they do have is hope. In a study co-authored by Martin Seligman, PhD, director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, a group of swimmers was instructed to swim their hardest then were told a false time"one that added several seconds. The optimists used this negative feedback to fuel an even faster time on their next swim; the pessimists performed more poorly than before" [10].

Based on these characteristics, it's no wonder that optimists get more call-backs for job interviews and promotions [10]. We can therefore assume that optimistic people are better off financially than their pessimistic peers. Indeed, it's no surprise that optimists have been measured to make more money [13].

Optimism and Happiness

Optimistic people have a positive outlook on the world, and thus experience a greater level of contentment. If you think that the world is inherently good, and that life will work out in your favor, you're more likely to rate [perceive] your own health and sense of well-being as being better. A recent meta-analysis of optimism supported past findings that optimism is positively correlated with life satisfaction. This has been verified by statistics from a study of more than 150,000 people living in 142 countries [10].

Optimistic people are in the habit of being thankful; they tend to feel more fulfilled. Since research shows that gratitude is consistently linked to happiness, it proves optimistic people are happier [11]. And remember - happier people are healthier. Optimism promotes laughter. It is also obviously associated with your daily mood. This is consistent with optimistic people being happier and healthier in mind/body overall.

Optimistic people are also more fun to be around. Being surrounded by people and beloved in your social circles promotes well-being and increases one's support system. Plus, optimism promotes communication and bonding. Studies show that optimists make better dates [10]. If and when things go awry with a friend, optimism encourages forgiveness and the possibility of moving on.

As you can see, optimism significantly improves our relationships with others. However it also improves one's relationship with the self. Optimism promotes constructive change and growth. This sometimes takes the form of heightened awareness and spirituality [12].

Conclusion

In conclusion, optimism gives you a reason for living. It enables you to handle your emotions and put your feelings in check, which is a way to deal with disappointment or failure in a positive and constructive way. Optimism promotes self-respect and self-esteem, thus increases one's propensity to act admirably and with integrity. Optimism gives you confidence, and the ambition + hope to be proactive and productive. It inspires people to reach for their dreams and bring new adventures or success to one's self and others. This is not only good for the individual, but society as a whole. If certain scientists or explorers did not believe it was possible to succeed in their endeavors, we would not have some of the discoveries or insights that help us today. Furthermore, optimists take fewer sick days [10]. They are arguably better for the overall economy based not only on how much they produce, but by encouraging new ventures, discoveries and opportunities.

Optimism enhances your coping skills and ability to problem solve. It's inspirational. It also makes you more tolerant. After all, if you are not likely to be rattled or thrown off by every little criticism or failure, you have more patience and less irritability. This makes you more pleasurable to be around and you will have larger and more supportive social circles.

Optimism also increases your overall sense of satisfaction. This is directly associated with one's level of happiness. Happier people are healthier people. So in a practical way, optimism increases one's level of health, improves their immune system, boosts their recovery and promotes longevity.

Countless studies have been conducted on optimism, and the vast majority of them support the same conclusions: optimism is healthy! Optimists even have healthier babies. Are there downsides? There are a few. However there is a large, scientifically valid body of research that indicates that optimistic people are generally better off in life than pessimists. Thus it is better to be an optimist than a pessimist.

References

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://www.medicaldaily.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://tinyurl.com...
[5] http://positivepsychologynews.com...
[6] http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org...
[7] http://www.concordia.ca...
[8] Scheier, Michael F.; Carver, Charles S.; Bridges, Michael W. (2001). "Optimism, Pessimism, and Psychological Well-Being". In Chang, E. Optimism & Pessimism: Implications for Theory, Research, and Practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. pp. 189-216.
[9] http://guilfordjournals.com...
[10] http://www.happify.com...
[11] http://www.health.harvard.edu...
[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[13] http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 2
SkySky16

Con

First I will address the points that Con made then I will move to extending my own points. This may be washed together because that's what tends to happen.

1. Optimism a Physical Health

Con is making the argument that optimism is better for your physical health. The major flaw with this argument, and that I pointed out in my first speech, is that these experiments claim to do the possible; to test for optimism vs. pessimism purely. These experiments fail to do so because, as the ARTICLE ITSELF states, "this may be due to optimists having healthier lifestyles. For example, they smoke less, they are more physically active, they consume healthier foods, and they consume alcohol moderately." Now I bring this up because Con seems to believe that these traits are true because pessimists take worse care of their physical health. This is a common misconception, people who take part in these self destructive behaviors do so for a variety of reasons but the main one being struggle. These people are struggling. Con takes the stance that they are struggling due to PESSIMISM, while the truth is these struggles made them pessimistic. I will revisit this argument in mental health because it is very similar.
Just because " optimistic people are happier [4] and happier people are healthier people" is true doesn't make it due to optimism, correlation does not equal causation. This very article is listed and used in my opening statement because it shows the flaws of the experiment. In regards to her last point, I took this quote from the same article from the next sentence after Con's reference, "These studies have found that optimistic people experience less distress when faced with potentially life-threatening cancer diagnoses." This is the closest thing I found as to a scientific explanation to substantiate the claim. This is prone to the same argument as the other health benefit experiment, correlation does not equal causation. Just because optimistic people are better at recovering from illness doesn't mean it is because of optimism, literally thousands of other variable are involved in either of these studies yet neither explain how it is due only to optimism.

2. Optimism and Mental Health

Everything under this section is flawed for the same reason, correlation does not equal causation. Optimists having less stress proves nothing but my argument that pessimists were created by struggle, which disproves all of Con's arguments so far. The only exception to this is the claim that "This (pessimism) impacts people's ability to deal with assignments..." But in the same link I found this quote: "Across three studies, we demonstrate that those primarily concerned with growth and advancement (i.e., promotion) prefer optimistic forecasts and perform better when adopting an optimistic outlook, whereas those primarily concerned with safety and security (i.e., prevention) prefer pessimistic forecasts and perform better when adopting a pessimistic outlook." Which promotes my argument that both are better when used differently and that different situations call for different outlooks. My argument, however, furthers that to claim that DP is better overall.

3. Optimism and Success

It claims that one must believe in their own abilities to take on a new challenge. This has nothing to do with DP vs. SO, because DP is concerned with overcoming predictable and changeable pitfalls and SO is about ignoring the unchangeable and unpredictable. This whole section presumes that pessimists are all just extreme pessimists that hate themselves and everything around them. This is shown in the general negligence, because optimists have the ability to be just as radical. I could claim that optimists are less successful because they are OVERconfident and believe everything will just work out, naive right? It claims that optimists are better in situations that require persistence in the face of extreme adversity. Con has cherry picked this argument. Here is the whole paragraph:
"People who are concerned with potential downfalls in a project, for example, tend to handle criticism much better than optimists. Pessimists are always looking to identify the holes or mistakes in a line of thinking so that they can become better. But optimists might fare better in situations where persistence and not giving up, even in the face of extreme adversity, may take them farther than people who focus only on what will go wrong, blocking them from their goal."
This article is agreeing with my argument! I stated that DP is concerned with preventing potential pitfalls and the article, eerily may I add, almost word for word states that. Optimists do better in the face of extreme adversity because so often extreme adversity is not self-caused and not predictable, or else pessimists would be better in those situations as well.
"Optimists seem intent on facing problems head-on, taking active and constructive steps to solve their problems, while pessimists are more likely to abandon their effort to attain their goals [8]." First off, optimists seem that way because they face less problems due to not properly solving them beforehand. Secondly, this is another example of radical pessimism being compared to rational optimism, which is severely flawed thinking.
Following is another study that promotes the idea that both ways of thinking are best used in different scenarios, which is partly my argument. But also, yet again, you can see the little hint of it comparing radical pessimism and rational optimism. This is shown when it implies that only optimists have "promotion focus," when pessimism can be used the same way to produce consistently good work.
"Being optimistic doesn't mean being careless and taking profound risks. It means having the audacity of hope to take reasonable risks in the first place." That is exactly what DP is just with a different approach. Have a potential problem you cannot reasonably change? Take the risk and focus on what you can. That is the thought process of DP. Hope is also inherently problematic. Too much and you are naive, not enough and you are unmotivated. Yet again Con is comparing apples to oranges. This is especially apparent when, in the same paragraph talking on the same point, Con quotes: "A pessimist would think, 'I'm such a failure! I never do well in this sport! I'm not trying out anymore.' Meanwhile, an optimist would say 'That's unfortunate, but it's just one try out. I can practice and try again, or try something else I might be better at.'" Just utter fallacy ridden argumentation.
Then Con quotes an experiment with swimmers, the article doesn't state how many. Not only does the article claim that optimists "make better athletes" but does so without any evidence to back it up. Does this unknown number of swimmers represent all athletes? Certainly not.
The same article is used for the next paragraph claiming optimists make better workers. I quote that article: "A study from Kuwait University found that people who were the most optimistic were also happiest in their jobs and had the fewest work complaints; the opposite was true for pessimists." You could interpret it the way the article did but my interpretation is just as valid, if not more. Pessimists assess the disadvantages or downfalls of situations, I've shown this in my last argument, so therefore they'd be less satisfied. This is because they are less ignorant and more realistic. But onto the specific thing Con quotes. This entire paragraph is more correlation equals causation argumentation, extremely illogical.

4. Optimism and happiness

The first two sentences from the first paragraph flawed because of circular reasoning. If you think the world is inherently good > life will work out in your favor > you are likely to perceive your own health and well-being as better > therefore the world is inherently good > etc. The next sentence says that it is "positively correlated," CORRELATED, this proves nothing.
Con in the next paragraph states for about the 4th time that happier people are healthier while none of these citations prove that. This second paragraph contradicts con's other arguments saying they are more successful because people that are fulfilled are often not ambitious, because they are happy with what they have.
3rd paragraph is full of correlation equals causation experiments and studies. Optimists may be better dates but I would say it is because they struggle with less problems, which allows them to be optimists, as I have stated before.
"As you can see, optimism significantly improves our relationships with others. However it also improves one's relationship with the self. Optimism promotes constructive change and growth. This sometimes takes the form of heightened awareness and spirituality [12]." This statement is not promoted by the citation. All the citation states people with HIV test better in "spiritual, religious, and existential well-being." This is more likely due to therapy addressing the depression or sadness after being diagnosed with HIV, NOT optimism. Nowhere in the article does it substantiate the claim that optimism helps. This could also be due to the placebo affect, they were told it would help so they recorded higher scores. Also could be because of the self fulfilling prophecy affect. These people want to be better, they've convinced themselves this would help, so it does.

Conclusion
Con's conclusion is as flawed as their citations and interpretation of citations, which is no surprise because those flaws are where they drew their results.
All Con has done is copy pasted studies and experiments that show a CORRELATION between optimism and all these wonderful things.
I would argue that optimism is over valued in today's society and people claim that being realistic and problem solving is optimistic, which many of these citations have done, which is not optimism.
I implore everyone to read "The happiness conspiracy" by newstatesmen
Danielle

Pro

Optimism and Physical Health

Con admitted (and reiterated) that optimists lead healthier lifestyles. He said pessimists lead unhealthier lifestyles because they are struggling. That may be true. Regardless of the reason why they struggle or lead unhealthier lifestyles, the fact is that optimistic people are healthier than pessimists.

My opponent claims that "correlation does not equal causation" and questions the link between optimism/health. He explains that optimism or pessimism might be a result of pre-existing realities. For example, in noting that optimistic people are in better health, it may be true that pessimistic people are pessimistic specifically BECAUSE they are in poor health. However Harvard Medical School has considered this possibility in their analysis:

"Scientists have adjusted their analyses to account for pre-existing medical conditions. The studies that made these adjustments found that existing illnesses did not tarnish the benefits of optimism" [1].

One reason for this is biological. Optimistic people have less stress which produces the harmful chemical cortisol. Cortisol has significantly detrimental health effects which I highlighted in the last round. In addition, there has been research which studied the relationship between optimism and one's immune system. When someone is more optimistic, they fight off infection more effectively than during the times when they are less hopeful [2].

Furthermore, in the last round I explained why optimism leads to better financial success. Wealth allows people to pursue better health care. Moreover, optimistic people are more outgoing and likable [3], and therefore more likely to build support networks that alleviate stress and other burdens.

Con writes, "Just because optimistic people are better at recovering from illness doesn't mean it is because of optimism." First, you'll notice that Con acknowledges the results: optimists have better, faster rates of recovery than pessimists. Thus he is NOT denying my contention. That said, of course there are many variables - but it has been repeatedly observed that optimism is one of them, and a positive preference over pessimism.

Eric Kim, research fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard notes “Our new findings suggest that we should make efforts to boost optimism, which has been shown to be associated with healthier behaviors and healthier ways of coping with life challenges” [4].

There is a plethora of research confirming this logical conclusion. "The results make evolutionary sense. Early humans in close-knit social groups would have faced increased risk of viral infections, so they would have benefited from revved-up antiviral genes. By contrast, people who were isolated and under stress faced greater risk of injuries that could cause bacterial infection — and thus would need to respond by ramping up genes associated with inflammation, to help heal wounds and fight off those infections. But modern stresses lead to chronic and unhelpful inflammation, which over time damages the body's tissues, increasing the risk of chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, cancer and diabetes" [5].

Optimism and Mental Health

Extend my argument on mental health and the stress hormone; Con ignores/denies it yet it stands.

My opponent relies on the "correlation does not equal causation" argument, though I have explained (and shown research not discredited by Con) that optimism is explicitly related to physical and mental health through both correlation AND causation.

"Positive and negative expectations regarding the future are important for understanding the vulnerability to mental disorders, in particular mood disorders. Recent studies have found an inverse correlation between optimism and depressive symptoms, and also between optimism and suicidal ideation. As such, optimism seems to have an important moderating role in the association between feelings of loss of hope and suicidal ideation. . . Pessimists nurtured little hope for the future and were more at risk for depressive and anxiety disorders, with subsequent impairment of social functioning and quality of life. The role of optimism in the quality of life has also been investigated in depressive disorders emerging in patients suffering from somatic pathologies, (such as acute coronary syndrome, for instance) in which a significant inverse correlation was found between dispositional optimism and level of satisfaction in life on one hand and depressive symptoms emerging after the cardiovascular event on the other hand" [6].

Optimism and Success

Con claims that my last round assumes pessimists are entirely useless. That is false. I pointed out that in order to start a project, one must believe in their idea and their abilities to succeed -- a trait more aligned with optimists than pessimists. This doesn't mean pessimists never start projects, so my opponent cannot rely on the claim that I am "exaggerating" pessimism. It simply means optimists are more likely to start projects, on balance.

Next Con argues that optimism can hurt people via over-confidence, and ultimately lead to their failure or demise. Yet I explicitly addressed this suggestion already last round, when I noted that optimism doesn't mean being careless and taking profound risks. Instead it means valuing and factoring hope and positivity into the cost/benefit analysis.

Con writes, "First off, optimists seem that way because they face less problems due to not properly solving them beforehand." This is a completely unsubstantiated claim. Con does not prove that optimists face less problems OR that they do not consider them beforehand. He also commits his own highlighted fallacy of radicalism. He continues, "Secondly, this is another example of radical pessimism being compared to rational optimism, which is severely flawed thinking." However I did not take radicalism into serious consideration. My arguments have been generalizations: on balance, optimists are X compared to on balance, pessimists are Y.

Con challenges the contention that optimism leads to success as demonstrated by the swimmer example. The claim is that optimists use negative feedback to fuel success, whereas pessimists are more likely (note: this is NOT a radical claim but a general one) to use negative feedback as a reason to quit or presume their inevitable failure. There is similar research showing "when executives become really upbeat about earnings because of a string of recent successes, they appear to work harder to meet their bullish predictions, leading to an even more improved firm performance" [7, 8].

Shawn Achor is a world renowned psychology expert and winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University. He notes, "When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been borne out repeatedly by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the world" [9].

Optimism and Happiness

I wrote, "Optimistic people have a positive outlook on the world, and thus experience a greater level of contentment. If you think that the world is inherently good, and that life will work out in your favor, you're more likely to rate [perceive] your own health and sense of well-being as being better." Con claims these are circular statements. They are not. They are explanatory and relevant contentions. The first sentence highlights that optimism leads to contentment, and the second shows it leads to a more positive assessment of one's life (hence why it leads to contentment). My opponent is so obsessed with singling out alleged but unproven fallacies, that he fails to negate the actual arguments I've put forth or make any compelling cases of his own.

My opponent is also obsessed with the "correlation does not equal causation" argument which is a fallacious misrepresentation of the debate at hand. Once again, I have proven the existence and relevance of both correlation AND causation. I've explained how optimism is relevant and directly linked to health and happiness. I've also shown how it can be arguably the direct cause of health/happiness.

For example I explained that optimistic people are in the habit of being thankful, and gratitude causes happiness. My opponent has completely ignored this contention. I explained optimism promotes forgiveness. Rather than contest this argument, Con harps on the sources. But can Con prove that pessimism promotes forgiveness? Of course not. Con can also not prove pessimism promotes laughter or that pessimistic people are fun to be around. As such, he resorts to scrutinizing my sources (which is fine) but presenting no actual rebuttal.

Conclusion

I've argued that optimism is good for accepting constructive criticism. Con hasn't denied it. I've argued that it promotes innovation and inspiration, and also that it gives you confidence. Con hasn't denied it. I pointed out that it promotes tolerance, increases your overall satisfaction and makes you happier/healthier in general. Con hasn't disproven that either; again he simply challenges my sources and claims I have been "exaggerating." I've explained that I am speaking ON BALANCE in my generalizations, which is required of both of us for this debate.

Pessimists are known to harp on the negative over the positive. This is the definition of pessimism. Can my opponent prove how choosing to embrace and accept the negative or presume a negative outcome makes individuals or society better? Thus far he has not. Meanwhile I've repeatedly highlighted why optimism is preferable to pessimism and why optimists lead preferable lives to pessimists.

SOURCES: http://tinyurl.com...

Debate Round No. 3
SkySky16

Con

I will be going through Pro's arguments in order.

1. Optimism and Physical Health

I have conceded that fact but that is irrelevant. It proves nothing in this debate. None of Pros evidence substantiates the reason of the correlation, in fact, one of Pro's MAIN articles with the study says that it is NOT necessarily due to being optimistic in of itself. This means that my speculation about the validity of these claims is just and therefore these claims should be disregarded, they prove nothing.
Pro proceeds to attempt to combat my argument claiming that correlation does not equal causation by explaining that one study did take this into account. But, since Pro failed to show how, and their citation is blocked off by a pay wall. We could disregard this but I won't. How would a study rule out all other variables, they'd have to find the exact same person with the same experiences and etc. with the one thing being different is their optimistic or pessimist mindset. Of course I realize there is no way to do this so if Pro can prove that this study has shown that their is little to no possible substantial effect on the results then I will debate it.
Pro then goes on to reiterate that optimistic people have less cortisol and of course cortisol is unhealthy. It still doesn't get passed the correlation does not equal causation argument. Pro then claims that people fight off infection when they are more optimistic, I would like to pull through my placebo and self fulfilling prophecy arguments and cross apply them here. These arguments work here because it is the same situation just medically instead of psychologically. Not only that but the source that Pro cites says nothing about optimism or one's immune system, it talks about stress level variation in college freshmen.
Pro then tries to mention their financial success argument and that also proves the health argument because they can seek better health care. But didn't answer any of my arguments critiquing her citations, referenced here: "This whole section presumes that pessimists are all just extreme pessimists that hate themselves and everything around them. This is shown in the general negligence, because optimists have the ability to be just as radical. I could claim that optimists are less successful because they are OVERconfident and believe everything will just work out, naive right?" then my cherry picking argument that showed the fault to be upon their shoulders and how the article pro is referencing agrees with me. So pull those arguments through as Pro has, again, not answered them.
Pro then criticizes my argument "Just because optimistic people are better at recovering from illness doesn't mean it is because of optimism." By saying I'm not denying it. That's is utter nonsense. My whole argument is that it is most likely due to other causes, Pro has not provided evidence that optimism itself causes these things, just that people with optimistic mindsets tend to be healthier.
"There is a plethora of research confirming this logical conclusion." That entire quote is purely theoretical. The person saying that is just hypothesizing. If it were to be true, it would support MY argument. "people who were isolated and under stress faced greater risk of inuries that could cause bacterial infection." There reason for this is because I argued that things like this, physical well-being, were most likely due to other causes. This person depicted is a pessimist, but that doesn't mean pessimism caused the injury and ensuing infections, them being alone did that.

Optimism and Mental Health

"Extend my argument on mental health and the stress hormone; Con ignores/denies it yet it stands." Did pro even read my arguments? I argued that defensive pessimism is better because has a higher net decrease of anxiety and stress, thus lowering the cortisol levels more than, strategic optimism. My opening definitions stated that DP is more for people with high stress and anxiety while SO is the opposite.
Pro says I rely on correlation does not equal causation argument and claims I have not discredited the sources. Again, did Pro even read my arguments? I went through, one by one, as they came up and showed why and how these sources were either not claiming that it is fact that optimism causes it and just correlated or the source had assumed it was fact from the citations they used.
It is Pro that has ignored my arguments. I argued that pessimism doesn't cause a decline in mental health and that it is actually vice versa. It is a medical FACT, pessimism (usually radical pessimism) is a symptom of clinical depression and anxiety. [1] Symptom as defined by merriam webster: subjective evidence of disease or physical disturbance; broadly : something that indicates the presence of bodily disorder. If pessimism caused mental health problems those problems would be a symptom of PESSIMISM not the other way around.

Optimism and Success

The first paragraph of this argument is flawed, extremely. Yes I claim that all of your evidence assumes that pessimists are all radical pessimists because that is the common misconception. If you read the article I reference from new statesmen, you would understand that there is a stigma surrounding pessimism that causes these things to happen. [2] Pro then claimed optimists are more likely to believe in their idea and their abilities to succeed... While not citing any evidence for this. This is EXACTLY the stigma I'm talking about. Pro is proving my point and arguments throughout their argumentation. I also pointed out how each article, if they did, do this as well. Please read the darn arguments I make!
I didn't claim Pro was exaggerating I claimed that they were pitting radical pessimism vs. rational optimism. The entire opening of my debate was about how debating radical pessimism vs. radical optimism is useless because both are hugely flawed. THIS IS WHY I brought defensive pessimism and strategic optimism into the debate!
I honestly don't think Pro read my arguments very well at all. The entire second paragraph of this section is pointing out how over confidence is not reasonable and therefor should be excluded. That was my entire point! I stated that to show exactly what pro was doing to pessimism!!!
Pro tries to argue that they were not comparing radical pessimism to rational optimism by saying it was a fallacy and she was using the average pessimist and optimist. First, it is not a fallacy when I predicated the entire opening statement on excluding irrational thought on BOTH sides, to provide a more thoughtful and productive debate instead of a cat fight on which is more BS. Second, how can Pro claim to represent the average pessimist vs. the average optimist. Do they know how every pessimist and every optimist is? Can they read minds? Same questions can be asked of Pro's sources. But regardless, I opened up in round two explaining how we should debate defensive pessimism and strategic optimism. I didn't name the debate that because I didn't want to restrict thought critiquing either, if they can prove it to be more prevalent or more of a problem/solution. Nothing of what Pro has said has done this. So yes, my arguments critiquing Pro and their citations stand true.
In the next paragraph pro, in the second sentence in parenthesis, makes another generalized statement on pessimism with no proof that this is actually what pessimists think. Not only did I answer this with two whole paragraphs (the last two in my previous round's arguments in point 3,) I also provided a counter interpretation to that website's interpretation of the data on workers. Pro has yet to adequately refute my arguments.
The last paragraph of this section assumes pessimism is only focused on being negative. "When we are positive, this good stuff happens." Well that may be true but it is irrelevant. For the umpteenth time defensive pessimism isn't the societal misconception of pessimism! I explained both DP and SO in my opening statement. It was in fact, the crux of my arguments, and Pro has just dismissed it. Didn't even mention either term.

Optimism and Happiness

Pro says I'm obsessed with pointing out "alleged" and "unproven" fallacies when I explain in depth every time I think something is fallacial. Pro cannot simply dismiss that mass of argumentation by saying it is alleged and unproven. That is the whole point of this philosophical debate! It's a battle of IDEAS, not just facts. Of course facts can and do support ideas but this claim by Pro is ridiculous!
Pro says their argument isn't circular but doesn't explain why. Thinking should be linear, most of the time, and therefore the ending statement in the line should not cause the starting statement. I pointed out that it does, therefore it is linear. Pro says it's explaining the thinking, and I agree, just that it is explaining it using a fallacy! PRO THEMSELF proved this by saying "The first sentence highlights that optimism leads to contentment, and the second shows it leads to a more positive assessment of one's life (hence why it leads to contentment)." Pro literally linked the second thought to the first. Can't be more blatant than that.
The rest of this section is embarrassing, just a variety of generalizations that don't address what I had asserted in my opening statement. She concludes it by saying I only scrutinized and didn't present an actual rebuttal. Well... If pro had actually addressed the whole part of my speech that my argument is predicated upon I may have had something to dispute!

Arguments left unaddressed

Sections 1,2,3 and 4 of my opening statement. Which is my whole side of the argument. I've actually turned some sources against pro and in my favor and pro just never addresses those either.

Sources:
[1] https://www.adaa.org...
[2] http://www.newstatesman.com...
Danielle

Pro

== Optimism and Physical Health ==

(A) By choosing to focus on the positive and not worry about potential negatives, optimistic people have less stress. Stress produces the harmful chemical cortisol. Cortisol has significantly detrimental health effects. Con says this doesn't bypass the "correlation doesn't equal causation" argument which I have repeatedly proven to be false. Here, we can see that optimism directly leads to less stress, and therefore reduced risk of health problems caused by stress. Thus by combatting stress, optimism is the CAUSE of better health.

By the way - Con says my source from last round doesn't prove this claim, but it does. He has to download the paper I linked in source 2. It shows a study addressing the effects of a naturally occurring stressor on components of the immune system by directly measuring and comparing levels of cortisol.

(B) Con claims that I didn't answer his point on cherry picking ("I could claim that optimists are less successful because they are OVERconfident and believe everything will just work out"). That is completely false -- I addressed it twice already in this debate. Here was my response:

"Next Con argues that optimism can hurt people via over-confidence, and ultimately lead to their failure or demise. Yet I explicitly addressed this suggestion already last round, when I noted that optimism doesn't mean being careless and taking profound risks. Instead it means valuing and factoring hope and positivity into the cost/benefit analysis."

It is abusive conduct for my opponent to blatantly lie and force me to waste character space copy and pasting.

(C) I've explained that optimism leads to better, stronger social circles, and there is research to back my claim. In their study of The Role of Optimism in Social Network Development, psychologists measured through peer reviewed research how and why optimists tend to befriend and maintain more significant relationships than pessimists [1]. Having a strong support network has proven to lead to better health [2]. This is a second way in which optimism (through stronger social circles) CAUSES better health.

(D) Moreover, in the last round I showed that evolution details why socialization leads to better health via strengthening one's immune system. Con claims this may be virtue of the placebo or "self fulfilling prophecy." That is incorrect; this argument is explicitly rooted in biology. However Con states the argument is just hypothetical, which according to evolution is unabashedly false. Exposure to pathogens helps strengthen the immune system [3] which is one reason why we have vaccines. Optimists are more outgoing and surrounded by more people (see point B). So optimism (through increased socialization) CAUSES better health by fortifying defense against bacteria, virus and disease.

Con argues that if pessimistic people simply stayed recluse, perhaps they wouldn't be exposed to such harm. So here Con admits that pessimists are surrounded by less people (therefore having less and fewer opportunities to solidify relationships or pursue success). I can acknowledge that exposure to less people = less chance for illness, but that doesn't negate the benefit of exposure, nor does it prove being recluse is the preferable option.

(E) I explained how optimism contributes toward financial success. Optimistic people do better on job interviews and are richer on balance. Optimism leads to risk taking and increased performance, which is one reason optimists make more money. Thus optimism leads to better health and healthcare. This is yet another CAUSE of optimism contributing to better health.

I have repeatedly shown that optimism causes better health. Meanwhile, my opponent has not shown how pessimism affects one's health at all. That's because pessimism has been repeatedly observed to be detrimental to one's health.

== Optimism and Mental Health ==

(A) Con argues that defensive pessimism is preferable to optimism, because it leads to less cortisol and less stress. Here we can see that Con concedes the health benefits of having less cortisol. However Con did NOT prove that pessimistic people have less cortisol. Nowhere did he cite a source proving that claim -- because that claim is false. Meanwhile I have provided many sources proving optimists have less cortisol and less stress, and here are two more [4, 5].

(B) Despite the data on cortisol, Con claims pessimism reduces anxiety because it allows one to evaluate all the potential pitfalls that can reasonably be addressed. This seems illogical. If one is looking for reasons to be stressed by foreseeing and exaggerating potential problems, they are more likely to exhibit anxiety [6]. Anxiety is a natural response to presuming something bad will happen. While defensive pessimism surely has its useful purpose, and can help battle anxiety for sure - optimism in general is better than pessimism in general.

(C) Con argues that optimism causes a decline in mental health. My opponent has failed to cite a single source proving this misguided claim. On the other hand, I have provided explanations and sourced citations detailing why optimism leads to better mental health.

(D) My opponent notes "It is a medical FACT, pessimism (usually radical pessimism) is a symptom of clinical depression and anxiety." Thus he highlights the correlation between pessimism and terrible mental health. In the last round I posted research stating "Pessimists nurtured little hope for the future and were more at risk for depressive and anxiety disorders" indicating pessimism helped contribute toward exacerbating those disorders. Con did not challenge this research, and he failed to discredit the link between optimism and positive mental health.

== Optimism and Success ==

(A) My opponent says, "Pro then claimed optimists are more likely to believe in their idea and their abilities to succeed... while not citing any evidence for this." I didn't cite evidence because none is required. By DEFINITION, optimists tend to be hopeful and confident about the future or the success of something [8]. That is the literal definition of the word. By definition, pessimists presume the worst will happen [9]. Thus optimists are more likely to believe in their ideas and ability to succeed. Optimists assume the best, pessimists presume the worst. My point stands.

(B) Con complains about generalizations (the stigma) of pessimists while he continues to generalize optimists. Pure hypocrisy. While there are pros and cons to both optimism and pessimism, we are debating the generalizations of both. My opponent asks how we can debate generalizations by sarcastically asking if I can read minds. No, I can't, and he can't either -- does that mean all of his criticisms are invalid? We are literally debating the norm of optimism vs. the norm of pessimism; not the specific details of every situation and every individual.

(C) Con still has not proven that optimists face less problems OR that they do not consider them beforehand.

(D) Con did not challenge my contention on positive attitudes --> greater success (not only the swimmer example but the executive).

(E) Con did not address Shawn Achor's research.

== Optimism and Happiness ==

(A) I argued that Con name drops fallacies without proving them. He says I didn't explain how my logic was not fallacious - even though I did not present statements in the form of syllogism. I explained "The first sentence highlights that optimism leads to contentment, and the second shows it leads to a more positive assessment of one's life (hence why it leads to contentment)." I outlined how these comments were complimentary, not circular. They did not have to prove each other - they only both have to be true in order to be useful to my point. You'll notice that Con has ignored my point, and not proven either of those claims linking optimism and gratitude/happiness to be false.

(B) I explained that optimistic people are in the habit of being thankful, and gratitude causes happiness. My opponent has ignored this contention multiple times.

(C) Similarly, Con ignored that optimistic people laugh more and are more fun to be around. I've presented reasoning and sources.

== Rebuttal ==

(A) Con argued that everyone uses defensive pessimism. That may be true, but doesn't prove pessimism is preferable to optimism.

(B) Con claims that pessimism is more pragmatic. He refers to defensive pessimism, which of course is not the only type pf pessimism. Nonetheless, pessimism presumes negativity whereas optimism presumes positivity. That doesn't mean a pessimist is more pragmatic; it simply shows a difference of perspective. For example, suppose one had a 50/50 chance of winning the lottery. An optimist would believe they'd win and a pessimist would believe they'd lose. However neither attitude affects the outcome in that scenario, thus pessimism is not more pragmatic - just more negative.

(C) On pragmatism, Con writes "When we assess the usefulness of DP and SO levels on a curve we can see that DP is more useful more often." This remains unproven. He says "I am essentially arguing that anxious and well prepared is much better than confident and ill prepared." Thus Con once again claims optimism is naive, which is a (hypocritical) generalization.

(D) My opponent says, "DP is what gets things done while SO dismisses what might happen." But I've argued in my round why pessimists are less likely to begin new projects, and this point stands. Optimists are also better at dealing with set backs and problem solving [10].

== Conclusion ==

My opponent claims that defensive pessimism has more benefits than optimism. However throughout this debate, I've highlighted that on balance, optimism yields more benefits in terms of health, happiness, success, relationships and well being than pessimism.

SOURCES: http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 4
SkySky16

Con

Optimism and Physical Health

(A) I agree with this point, I even stated so in my last argument. What I argued is that this benefit is FAR outweighed by the detriments. She uses this one argument, the only one I that stands up to the correlation argument (did I even use that argument against this?), to state all of her arguments stand up to it. That's just factually incorrect.
She then draws the conclusion that optimism is better because it lowers cortisol and they are generally happier. I argued that DP has a larger NET BENEFIT because pessimists usually have higher stress and DP helps them lower it to manageable levels so if optimists have lower stress and us SO to lower it to manageable levels, DP does more. Logical right?

She says I have to download the paper, but as I said it is blocked by a pay wall. I can't because I can't afford to buy a paper that won't help me further my education or career.

(B) She says she answers my cherry picking argument then quotes me where the word cherry picking isn't even in it.. What?
Here's my cherry picking argument
Con has cherry picked this argument. Here is the whole paragraph:
"People who are concerned with potential downfalls in a project, for example, tend to handle criticism much better than optimists. Pessimists are always looking to identify the holes or mistakes in a line of thinking so that they can become better. But optimists might fare better in situations where persistence and not giving up, even in the face of extreme adversity, may take them farther than people who focus only on what will go wrong, blocking them from their goal."
This article is agreeing with my argument! I stated that DP is concerned with preventing potential pitfalls and the article, eerily may I add, almost word for word states that. Optimists do better in the face of extreme adversity because so often extreme adversity is not self-caused and not predictable, or else pessimists would be better in those situations as well.

Then Pro has the gall to accuse me of abusive conduct when she is the one mistaken AND opened a separate page just to hold the citations she ran out of room for. I can't understand this anymore. Oh, and by the way pro, I've wasted many more characters with this even though I explicitly pointed it out previously, thanks for slandering me by calling me a liar though! Just noticed she did the same in this round. What a hypocrite.

(C) "I've explained that optimism leads to better, stronger social circles..." No. Pro has explained there is a correlation, and not only have I called Pro out on this I explained that even if it weren't just correlation, I steered the debate in the direction of defensive pessimism vs. strategic optimism. Literally the first two sentences of my opening statement. Just gross negligence by Pro's part at this point.

(D) Pro tries to extend an advantage to an argument I have pointed out was flawed and therefore should be discarded. In my first response I went into detail on EVERY CITATION, and explained why Pro's points were presuming the studies/experiments were claiming facts or how those studies/experiments were trying to claim a fact that wasn't supported in the evidence they themselves put forth. I mean, for god's sake, one of the main articles pro uses says that it isn't necessarily just due to optimism. I've stated this multiple times. The only argument pro puts towards these arguments is "My opponent relies on the "correlation does not equal causation" argument, though I have explained (and shown research not discredited by Con) that optimism is explicitly related to physical and mental health through both correlation AND causation." Which is a "blatant lie," to use pro's words about me, because that specific argument she went on to quote is her disputing my metaphor about how if I compared to radical optimism to rational pessimism it would be incorrect and fallacial. This isn't even the correlation argument, this is another logical fallacy argument. Another instance of negligence by my opponent.
"Con argues that if pessimistic people simply stayed recluse, perhaps they wouldn't be exposed to such harm. So here Con admits that pessimists are surrounded by less people." Where did I say this. I stated that they may be alone more often because of other mental health issues that pessimism is a symptom of, therefore meaning THOSE mental health issues are the fault not pessimism. Oh look, another "blatant lie." Oh look, more negligence by my opponent.

(E) Pro claims the "on balance" argument again and never disputed my critique of it saying pro can't possibly have a record of all the pessimistic and optimistic people and the details of their life, health, and social well-being. Pro is just claiming random crap now.
She then claims I haven't put forth any arguments how pessimism is better. Did Pro read my opening statement? Honestly. More negligence.
"That's because pessimism has been repeatedly observed to be detrimental to one's health." No citation, because no study has shown that RATIONAL, REASONABLE, and LOGICAL pessimism is bad for one's health. Of course hating yourself and thinking you can't do anything is bad, but I disregarded both extremes of the spectrum in my opening statement arguing that it wouldn't be beneficial. I brought this up in my last speech as well, further explaining it. Pro has not answered it. Negligence again!

Optimism and Mental health

(A) Oh my god. Pro actually used the term "defensive pessimism." Maybe pro will start debating about more stimulating topics and areas that aren't cut and dry!!! Nope. She claims I didn't prove that pessimistic people have less cortisol. Which is true, but that wasn't my argument in the first place. I argued there was a higher net decrease with DP. See my other mention earlier in this round and the last round.

(B) Lmao, Pro claims that "foreseeing and exaggerating potential problems" can't possibly reduce anxiety. I never f**king claimed this. This is just ridiculous at this point. I apologize for my nonprofessional conduct in this round but Pro has just been butchering and lying about what I've said. I claimed that defensive pessimism, which is foreseeing LIKELY and AVOIDABLE, pitfalls reduces anxiety. Just read the definition I posted in my opening statement and the arguments proceeding it. There's no exaggerating, there is just saying, "Hey this might cause this, so let's not do it exactly like that." This happens in politics all the time!

(C) " Con argues that optimism causes a decline in mental health." What? When did I claim this? Jesus christ, I'm not religious but pro needs jesus or something.

(D) Pro quotes me saying: "It is a medical FACT, pessimism (usually radical pessimism) is a symptom of clinical depression and anxiety." Then pro says that it shows the correlation. First off, I did not show the same correlation, pro is claiming that pessimism causes mental health problems while I argued that it was the other way around. Secondly, if it were true that I acknowledged there is a correlation between pessimism and mental health meaning pessimism causes mental health problems that would be it. Just a correlation, CORRELATION PROVES NOTHING. Did you know 100% of murderers drank water in the past 24 of killing? Therefore, water creates murderers! No. It doesn't.

Optimism and Success

(A) Pro claims " By DEFINITION, optimists tend to be hopeful and confident about the future or the success of something," when her citation doesn't say that. I s**t you not, it doesn't even try to make that claim. It's just google's default definition.
And then says pessimists presume the worst will happen. Google's definition says it SEES the worst parts of situations. You know, the stuff that actually happened or tends to happen. What she describes is what I called being cynical.

(B) Pro claims that defensive pessimism isn't the only form of pessimism as if this disproves my argument. The point of me narrowing the debate, as I explained in the last god d**m round, was to cut out all the BS about self hating radical pessimists and over-confident and naive radical optimists. Because I didn't think that was going to be productive. I was right, this debate has done NOTHING. Well, it has done something. Proven my point that optimism has become a cult like idea that people assume is just inherently better.
Pro uses a 50/50 chance analogy but doesn't express pessimism accurately at all, she again expresses either radical pessimism or cynicalism. I showed this in my first two rounds arguing that defensive pessimists see reasonable and avoidable downfalls of something. If you provide a situation that has no downfalls whatsoever, which I did (see my crane arcade game argument), of course a pessimist would take the chance.

(C) She says my bell curve argument is unproven. No f**king s**t Pro. No f**king s**t. That is the point of philosophical discussion. Nothing is set in stone, everything is debatable. I'd like to point out this is the first time pro has addressed this point. 3 speeches later.

(D) Pro says pessimists are less likely to begin new projects but I've shown how that is radical pessimism and shouldn't be categorized under DP. She claims optimists are better at dealing with setbacks and problem solving, while I addressed this before and has gone unanswered.

Conclusion

Pro is arguing "on balance" or on average. This is a horrible stance because as I've stated probably hundreds of times now that both extremes are flawed. Pro doesn't acknowledge most of my arguments or just grossly misrepresents them, including saying I claimed things when I haven't. The misconduct and general incompetence by Pro in this debate has destroyed any hopes of this becoming a productive experience. Philosophical debate is predicated upon no evidence, or very little evidence. So bringing articles that suggest there MIGHT be a problem is just inherently flawed. Answer my arguments ffs.
Danielle

Pro

== Optimism and Physical Health ==

(A) My opponent agrees that less stress is preferable. He suggests defensive pessimism thwarts anxiety. However I argued that pessimism forces one to think about potential problems that may or may not occur. It specifically induces stress through the belief that something bad WILL happen, not just COULD happen. Anxiety is the fear, and pessimism is the sincere belief that the fear is justified through probability. Thus pessimism fuels anxiety.

More importantly, I've provided multiple sources proving optimistic people have less cortisol levels than pessimists. Con has 100% failed to provide a single source indicating the opposite. Therefore, the audience has every reason to accept that optimists have less stress, less cortisol - as proven by thoroughly proven scientific research, and that optimism = less cortisol (i.e. better health) than pessimism.

(B) Con claims that my source "agrees with his argument." He also notes that the article presents the benefits and downsides of BOTH optimism and pessimism, so even if the article agrees with some of his contentions, it proves nothing. He highlights, "Pessimists are always looking to identify the holes or mistakes in a line of thinking so that they can become better." But pessimists don't believe they can improve. Believing that one can improve is an *optimistic* outlook, not a pessimistic one.

(C) Once again Con says I have only proven a "correlation" between optimism and increased social circles. That is blatantly false. I have provided both explanation and sourced citations (of valid, peer reviewed research - research that Con has completely ignored) with thorough analysis describing this link. I explained that optimistic people were more outgoing and likable as backed by evidence. Con admitted that pessimistic people are more likely to be recluse. The research I cited claims "people who were isolated and under stress faced greater risk of injuries that could cause bacterial infection — and thus would need to respond by ramping up genes associated with inflammation, to help heal wounds and fight off those infections."

(D) The argument here was that having greater social circles strengthens one's immune system. In response, my opponent has gone on a hysterical rant to rally against my sources through unsubstantiated and exaggerated criticisms. He failed to provide a single source contradicting my claims (!) or validating any claims on his own behalf. He has not proven that exposure to more people does NOT improve one's immune system, because that claim has been proven true (via evolution) which I have explained and proven with scientific facts and sources.

Extend all of my arguments from points C and D. Throughout this debate, I have explained why (and proven through various sources) that optimistic people are more outgoing and considered more enjoyable to be around than pessimists. They are more likely to be around other people and seek greater social networks. Con has presented no evidence whatsoever nor any analysis to indicate this claim is false.

As such, optimism is the direct CAUSE (and not just correlation) of being exposed to more people and having a greater network. Being exposed to more people strengthen's one's immune system for aforementioned reasons, and having stronger support networks improves (and protects) one's health for reasons I've also highlighted throughout this debate. Ergo optimism is the direct CAUSE of many factors triggering better health outcomes, in addition to all of the data measuring positivity's association with recovery. There is no data correlating pessimism with positive health, which is why Con hasn't provided any.

== Optimism and Mental Health ==

(A) Con concedes he has no proof that pessimists have less cortisol.

(B) My opponent writes "I claimed that defensive pessimism, which is foreseeing LIKELY and AVOIDABLE, pitfalls reduces anxiety." Then he goes on another hysterical rant suggesting I've somehow straw manned him because I said "foreseeing and exaggerating potential problems" does not thwart anxiety. He claims he "never fucking said this" even though I just presented his exact quote where he said that. He said FORESEEING problems reduces anxiety; the part about exaggerating them is inherently linked to pessimism's definition.

Once again, the very definition of pessimism requires one to assume the worst. Therefore I am not straw manning his position - he thinks looking for (and assuming the worst about) potential problems minimizes anxiety, whereas I've argued that it heightens anxiety. He can disagree, but he cannot (abusively) accuse me of yet another unsubstantiated fallacy like he has done throughout this debate.

(C) I wrote that Con said optimism causes a decline in mental health, but that he has not proven it. My opponent once again responded in a nasty and disrespectful way with yet another lie. He asks "What? When did I claim this?" and then says I need Jesus. Yet here is his direct quote saying optimism (the opposite of pessimism) causes a decline in mental health from Con's Round 4.

"I argued that pessimism doesn't cause a decline in mental health and that it is actually vice versa."

So yes, my opponent did say that, and he has still completely failed to prove it.

(D) Con argues that health problems cause pessimism and I am suggesting it could be the other way around (or that pessimism can contribute toward worsening health). To back up my claim, I presented research proving that optimistic people showed better rates of recovery and much better physical and mental health. In Round 3, I also presented citations from the Harvard medical community noting "Scientists have adjusted their analyses to account for pre-existing medical conditions. The studies that made these adjustments found that existing illnesses did not tarnish the benefits of optimism." Ergo one is not only optimistic or pessimistic as a result of pre existing conditions.

I posted research stating "Pessimists nurtured little hope for the future and were more at risk for depressive and anxiety disorders" indicating pessimism helped contribute toward exacerbating those disorders. Furthermore, I presented research (Round 3, source 6) explaining optimism increases the perception of life satisfaction, and therefore inhibits depression, suicide and other mood disorders. Once again Con did not challenge this research, and he failed to discredit the link between optimism and positive mental health. He again repeats "correlation does not equal causation" which I have said about 10x throughout this debate is true, and irrelevant to my arguments.

== Optimism and Success ==

(A) My opponent challenges my claim that "By DEFINITION, optimists tend to be hopeful and confident about the future or the success of something." He says "[Her] citation doesn't say that. I s**t you not, it doesn't even try to make that claim. It's just google's default definition." Here we can see Con literally argue against his own point. He admits that the GOOGLE DEFAULT DEFINITION of the word says exactly what I said it did.

While Con argues against himself, he doesn't discount the point that optimists are more likely to believe in their ideas and ability to succeed (which was my contention). Optimists assume the best, pessimists presume the worst. My point stands. Optimists have more hope and therefore are more likely to pursue and thus achieve their goals.

(B) Con does some more irrelevant ranting. Then he addresses my point on the effects of pessimism. I explained that if one has a 50/50 chance at winning something, being pessimistic (assuming one will not win) doesn't actually do anything at all to inhibit their chances of winning. My opponent has failed to disprove this logic and thus my point stands. He repeats that pessimists look for reasonable downfalls, but I explained that optimists do not discount downfalls. They simply consider and value hope and positivity in their cost/benefit analysis more strongly than pessimists.

(C) After more nasty commentary by my opponent, the point remains: he has not proven that pessimism was more useful than optimism, and he relies on the same generalizations of optimists that he hypocritically chastises the opposition for.

(D) Con says "Pro says pessimists are less likely to begin new projects but I've shown how that is radical pessimism and shouldn't be categorized under DP." Radical pessimism has nothing to do with my contention; I am talking about pessimism in general. I have repeatedly explained why we are talking about optimism and pessimism in general.

Con continues, "She claims optimists are better at dealing with setbacks and problem solving, while I addressed this before and has gone unanswered." Absolutely nowhere in this debate did Con explain that pessimists are better at dealing with set backs and problem solving. Instead he argued they foresee problems strategically, which is not the same thing. I've provided explanation to my point along with analysis on why optimists are better at dealing with constructive criticism.

== Optimism and Happiness ==

My opponent has dropped this section along with my Rebuttal section.
Extend my arguments on why optimists are proven to be happier specifically because they are optimistic.

== Conclusion ==

In conclusion, Con writes that debating on balance is "a horrible stance." This statement is nonsensical. Extend all of my arguments about why we MUST debate optimism vs. pessimism on balance, including but not limited to DP and SO. Throughout this debate, my opponent has completely failed to provide any credible research or evidence in his favor. Moreover he has been nasty, disrespectful and abusive through both directly insulting me and utilizing manipulative debate tactics. Thus in addition to winning Arguments (proving that optimists have better physical and mental health than pessimists), I have also won Sources and Conduct points.
Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by SkySky16 10 months ago
SkySky16
I agree tejretics
Seems like no one sees why I got frustrated in the first place
It was blatant misconduct by pro
Lies
Using extra space for arguments
Calling me a liar when I directly quote here and she misquotes me
Posted by tejretics 10 months ago
tejretics
Votes that are only on conduct and nothing else on a complete debate are a complete disservice to the debaters.
Posted by dsjpk5 10 months ago
dsjpk5
I'm happy to see Con validates my vote against him.
Posted by SkySky16 10 months ago
SkySky16
I would like to address anyone viewing this debate.
I apologize for my increasing informality in the rounds.
This happened because Pro just straight up lied, didn't seem to read my arguments, and complained that I was the one committing abuse.
Take conduct points off me all you want, I was just fed up that pro didn't address my arguments and then lied about me not substantiating my claims when I did so logically, and where I couldn't logically I did provide citations.
Did Pro even read my rounds?
Posted by SkySky16 10 months ago
SkySky16
I would like to address anyone viewing this debate.
I apologize for my increasing informality in the rounds.
This happened because Pro just straight up lied, didn't seem to read my arguments, and complained that I was the one committing abuse.
Posted by canis 10 months ago
canis
You are..The world is..
Posted by SkySky16 10 months ago
SkySky16
It's changed, your profile isn't accepting messages right now
Posted by Danielle 10 months ago
Danielle
You can send me the challenge me when you do. Thanks!
Posted by Danielle 10 months ago
Danielle
Change the voting period to last more than 3 days and I will gladly accept this debate. Please leave the voting period open for 1-3 months.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by BLAHthedebator 9 months ago
BLAHthedebator
SkySky16DanielleTied
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Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: I will be writing an RFD on this. Pro won by a long margin btw.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 10 months ago
dsjpk5
SkySky16DanielleTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's conduct was abysmal. In round 5 alone, he said 1. Sh@t you not. 2. No f@cling sh@t. 3. God damn round. 4. Jesus Christ. 5. Called Pro a hypocrite, and 6 "I apologize for my unprofessional behavior." .. Thereby admitting he had poor conduct.